Monday, May 21, 2018
News Roundup

Officials: Unlicensed mortician had remains of 50

BOSTON — An unlicensed funeral director accused of stealing more than $12,000 from an elderly couple could face more charges after authorities found 12 bodies and the cremated remains of more than 40 others in two self-storage units he rented, authorities said Friday.

Joseph O'Donnell, 55, of Boston was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail in a larceny case when investigators found the cremated remains Wednesday at a Somerville self-storage business. On Thursday, they found 12 sets of human remains at a similar business in Weymouth.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said no foul play is suspected. Conley's spokesman, Jake Wark, said no charges have been sought against O'Donnell in the discovery of the human remains.

O'Donnell's funeral director's license lapsed in 2008.

O'Donnell was charged with larceny in April. Authorities said he took more than $12,000 in payments from an elderly couple to cover two future funerals. Later, when the couple asked to apply one payment to another family member who had died, they learned that O'Donnell's funeral home had closed, and O'Donnell was unable to return their money, investigators said.

Wark said possessing cremated remains is not a crime. But the discovery of the bodies, Wark said, is "a much more serious set of circumstances."

Mortuary owners charged: North Texas police filed charges Friday against the owners of a funeral home where eight decaying bodies were discovered this week.

Fort Worth police said Rachel Hardy-Johnson and her husband, Dondre Johnson, have each been charged with seven counts of abuse of a corpse. They own Johnson Family Mortuary.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office said seven of the eight bodies found Tuesday at the business were in advanced stages of decomposition, though none showed signs of foul play.

The Johnsons' landlord notified authorities after he went to the home and found the bodies but no workers. He said he had told the Johnsons about two weeks ago to vacate the building because they had not paid their rent, according to police.

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